View Full Version : Gonzales Proposes "War Detainee Trials Similar To Those ... Ruled Unconstitutional"

08-03-2006, 06:30 PM
Gonzales proposes new detainee trials


Published: Thursday August 3, 2006

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has asked the US Senate to craft and approve a bill that would allow for terror war detainee trials similar to those recently ruled unconstitutional, RAW STORY has learned.

"The Administration believes that Congress should respond to the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan by providing statutory authorization for military commissions," Gonzales told a Senate committee, "to try captured terrorists for violations of the laws of war."

Gonzales specifically requested a new type of trial modeled after military court-martials, but applied to civilians. He opened the request by asking for legislation that would also "preserve flexibility in the procedures."

"We would propose," he told Senators, "that Congress establish a system of military commissions, presided over by a military judge, with commission members drawn from the Armed Forces. The prosecution and defense counsel would be appointed from the JAG corps, with an opportunity for the appointment of Justice Department prosecutors and with the ability of the accused to retain a civilian counsel, in addition to assigned military defense counsel."

Other rights, however, would be limited. "The UCMJ provides Miranda-type protections for U.S. military personnel that are broader than the civilian rule and that could impede or limit evidence obtained during the interrogation of terrorist detainees," the Attorney General contended. "I am not aware of anyone who contends that terrorist combatants must be given Miranda warnings before interrogations."

The Administration is requesting a system that "would not include such Miranda requirements," but would apply the fifth amendment's right against self-incrimination.

Gonzales also called for compliance with Article 3 of the Geneva convention through the standards adopted in the McCain Amendment to the Detainee Treatment Act, and by defining "war crimes" as the US would interpret them.